Irrespective of age group, to develop phonics skills, it is important to work on identification and naming of letter sounds before facilitating reading. This can be achieved through chunking teaching sounds as,

  1. Passive listening of sounds, where the child is expected to listen to the sounds of letters as in rhyme , A says “aa”, b says “ba” etc
  2. Identification of consonant sounds by asking the child to pick up the letter relevant to the mentioned consonant sound from a given set of consonants. Ex: Give me “Ga” among B, C, G, L, M .(It is important to avoid such practice for vowels as children will usually have trouble differentiating vowel and vowel sound)
  3. Naming of consonant sound by presenting the consonant letter. Ex: “S” says what? “P” says what?
  4. Practice the sounds that are usually challenging Ex: the sounds of H,G,J,V,W,C,K,Q and Y,

To facilitate reading, the words shall be categorized into two groups, sight words and phonetic words, which can further have cluster of words grouped hierarchically to ease teaching. For any cluster of words in both the groups, the following steps can be used to facilitate.

  1. Passive listening: Words from a world list are read aloud to the child with their spelling which provides an opportunity of auditory learning and familiarity before actually learning the words.
  2. Identification from flash cards : a) with spelling b) without spelling

Since children would then be good at consonant sounds, they can be encouraged to identify words from a set of 6 to 8 words, by identifying the beginning consonant sounds of the words. Here, specifically to dyslexic children, the words can be CVC words with two groups, set of words A) with different starting consonants like (Cat, BAT, RAT, MAT, SAT, VAT, FAT) B) with same starting consonants like (RAM, RAT, RAG, RAD, RAF, RAK) etc and the same applies for all the vowels. Inclusion of non-meaningful words in the above list would specifically improve phonemic awareness in dyslexics by helping them pay attention to different consonants involved in a word.

In order to work on the knowledge vowel sounds, Identification from words sets where the vowel alone is changed can be encouraged. Ex: TAP, TIP, TUP, TEP, and TOP.

  1. Reading with spelling: Reading can be encouraged by reading with a) teacher spells the word “C-A-T” and the student reads “CAT” b) students reads the word with spelling.
  2. Reading without spelling: As the child learns to read the words with spelling, he/she can be encouraged to read words at the sight by modelling.
  3. Forming words using letters (where writing is a challenge) / dictation in writing

Writing: Since dyslexic children make spelling errors in writing mostly because of phonemic awareness and decoding problems, working on forming words using letters pieces or cards helps better than traditional dictation. Once spelling knowledge is improved, writing though dictation can be encouraged.  Letter reversals arising due to phonic confusions can be worked by physical modelling of those letters by conditioning one specific word for the sound during practice. Ex. Use only “DOG” for d and “BAG” for b and so on.


Gayathri Mahadevan